CORNISH-L ArchivesArchiver > CORNISH > 2002-01 > 1010662927
From: "George Pritchard" <>
Subject: [CON] The Trevithick Run
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 11:42:24 -0000
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Seeing how I failed in my duty on reporting the Bi-Centenary run of the
replica of Richards Trevithicks Locomotive I felt I was duty bound to
sacrifice some of my research time this afternoon in order to report what
happened when the people we were seeking on the 1901 census held the
centenary celebrations. Leaving the search for those elusive Vingoes on the
1901 census to Sandra, I turned my attention to the West Briton newspaper
for December 1901 and found a very full report of the events that day. But
what made it especially interesting was the report included an eyewitness
account of the actual run in 1801. The advantage of reading this 1901 report
is that a lot of the people who were there would have known in their
lifetimes people who were at the original event. So the route given in this
report for the first run must have surely been the correct one.
The West Briton Newspaper January 1902
The Centenary of the Locomotive.
The Camborne Celebrations.
The first successful locomotive engine was run in the streets of Camborne
on Christmas-eve a hundred years ago; Trevithick and Vivian inventors.
These were the facts to which Camborne people tried to give emphasis last
Tuesday afternoon, when, in torrents of rain the leading townsmen walked
through the streets proceeded by a brass band and followed by a novel
procession, composed of eight traction engines. The start was made from the
bottom of Fore street, near the site of Tyaks smith shop where Trevithicks
engine had been put together. First went the Camborne Town Band, and next
walked a collection of representative townsmen, including Messrs. T. Fiddick
J.P. (chairman Urban District Council), John H Holman, J.P., R Nettle, J.
Neague, W. H. Dunkin, J. S. V. Bickford, W. Vivian, S. J. Williams, W. J.
Bartle (members of the council), J. R. Daniell (clerk), and J. Williams
(inspector), H. B. Paull (steward of Tehidy), C. D. and W. Bartle ( F.
Bartle & Son), W Stephens (Climax Rock Drills) T. S. Lowry, (manager Rabling
& Co.), R. A. Thomas (manager Dolcoath), J. J. Beringer, H. R. Beringer, A.
Bell, J. Caspell, Temby, and Dickson (all of the Mining School), Godfrey
Vivian, (representing Mr H. P. Vivian), and McCulloch (Tuckingmill Foundry
Co.), J Vivian, J.P., C.C., W. J. Tyack, Revs. W. J. Christophers (U.M.F.C.)
father OLoughlin (Roman Catholic), and Messrs. J.C. Keast and W. Cock
The engines joining in the procession were lent by the following:- Messrs.
Hosken, Trevithick, Polkinhorn Co. (2), Trewella (2), Rabling and Co.,
National Explosive Co., Nobel and Co. and Harvey and Co.
After walking through the principle thoroughfares of the town, a stop was
made at the Commercial Square, where Mr T. Fiddick (Chairman of the District
Council) made the following speech:- As Chairman of the District Council, I
have been asked to say a word or two respecting the occasion of our
demonstration this afternoon. We have met as Camborne men to celebrate this
centenary of a very remarkable event, an event which had enormous influences
and has been productive of untold benefits to the whole civilised world. I
refer to the first successful run of the first practical high pressure
locomotive engine in the worlds history. Which took place in our own town
exactly one hundred years ago this very Christmas-eve. As Cambornians, we
feel proud of both Richard Trevithick and Andrew Vivian, the inventors of
the locomotive engine. Trevithick was born in Illogan, and brought to
Camborne when very young. Here he went to school; and here he lived for many
years. The thatched cottage in which he resided is still standing. Andrew
Vivian, his partner, was a Camborne man; was manager of Dolcoath mine; and
took a very active interest in parochial affairs. I fear, however, that
scant justice has been done to him in some quarters. The locomotive was put
together at John Tyacks smith shop, which stood just opposite the site on
which Gustavus Mission Room is built at the bottom of Fore street. At the
first trial run the engine started from there and ran through Camborne Cross
and part of the way up Beacon hill carrying a load of delighted passengers.
An eye witness Stephen Williams said:-
In the year 1801, upon Christmas-eve coming en evening, Capt. Dick got up
steam, out on the highroad, outside the shop at Weith. When we saw that
Capt. Dick was again to turn on steam, we jumped up, as many as could may be
seven or eight of us. Twas a stiffish hill going from the Weith up to
Camborne Beacon, but she went off like a little bird. The second days run
it went down to Crane, that Capt. Andrew Vivians family who lived there
might see it. An old lady named Paull cried out Good gracious, Mr Vivian,
what will be done next. I caant compare un to anything but a walking puffin
On the 24th March 1802 Trevithick and Vivian secured a patent in steam
engines for propelling carriages and other purposes. ..
A vote of thanks was moved to Mr Fiddick by Mr. J.R.Daniell and seconded by
John H. Holman. Mr Fiddick responded, and thanked the band for their
At six o clock there was a public lantern exhibition in the Commercial
square, when large numbers of people gathered in spite of the miserable
weather. The slides included portraits of Trevithick and Vivian and of
Trevithicks house at Penponds, of the different locomotives of Trevithick
and other engines constructed by him. A number of portraits of famous
Cambonians were also thrown on the screen. The pictures were interspersed
with slides showing short and pithy senrences from Mr Beringers lecture on
Trevithick and these described the slides which followed them. They formed a
short but exceedingly comprehensive and powerful address on the claims of
Camborne to be the home of the first locomotive. In the course of the
display, Murdoch and his engine were not forgotten, as they formed the
subject of slides; and it may be mentioned that Murdoch was cordially
greeted by the spectators**.
** A battle royal had been taking place in the columns of the newspaper for
a number of weeks over the claim of Redruth to be the place were the first
locomotive was built and run by the Scottish engineer and inventor William
Murdoch. The argument still continues today in some quarters.